Schools, businesses brace for ‘Day Without Immigrants’ | VailDaily.com

Schools, businesses brace for ‘Day Without Immigrants’

Ryan Summerlin
rsummerlin@postindependent.com

Glenwood immigration attorney Jennifer Smith, right, and interpreter Jennifer Quevedo speak to the roughly 170 people at the Glenwood Springs Library on the Sunday after Donald Trump's election.

The Roaring Fork School District is prepping for a potential walkout today of students and staff supporting immigrants following widely circulated fliers encouraging a "Day Without Immigrants."

Meanwhile, businesses in cities across the country were preparing for the impact, possibly closing for the day should their immigrant employees strike.

Posts inundated social media with a unanimous message encouraging immigrants to avoid participating in work, school and commerce entirely.

These posts dubbed Feb. 16 a "Day Without Immigrants."

In Breckenridge, restaurant owners were weighing whether to open at all today or wait to see what their staff turnout would look like that morning.

Local Immigration advocates noticed people from the lower Roaring Fork Valley sharing the protest posts, though it was unclear what the effect might be around Glenwood Springs. The most likely scenario was a large student demonstration in opposition to President Donald Trump's immigration policies.

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Rob Stein, Roaring Fork School District superintendent, wrote Wednesday in an email to staff that he was unsure whether this would "turn out to be a massive day of protest or a minor disruption to our routines."

"I, personally, want to support and express solidarity with our immigrant community. At the same time, I have mixed feelings about some of the potential negative consequences for our students for whom every day of instruction is vital," that email said.

"While the right to protest is fundamental to our democracy, we do urge all staff to consider the potential impacts," the school district administration wrote in a letter to staff and parents. "First, we hope that students will weigh the adverse impact of missing school and recognize that every day of instruction is vital."

The administration's letter also expressed concern that absent staffers would harm the school's ability to function for students who are present.

The superintendent encouraged staffers to give notice if they plan to miss work today and for remaining staff to plan for how to keep their classes and departments operating.

At the time of these encouraged protests, the schools are also hosting parent-teacher conferences, "which are an important element for students' success and for engaging families," wrote Stein.

Kelsy Been, the school district's public information officer, said student and teacher absences would not lead to discipline.

"We respect your judgment in making the best decision with regards to this protest," the administration wrote in its letter.

Stein also noted the school district's ongoing support of the immigrant community, especially though its recently adopted "safe haven" resolution.

"We believe that all students should be able to access their education without fear or limitation on the possibilities for the future, and strive to do everything we can to remove limitations and prepare our students to thrive in a changing world."

A post circulating on Twitter for the past week reads:

A DAY WITHOUT IMMIGRANTS

Undocumented, residents, citizens.

Immigrants from all around the world, let us all stand united.

Don’t go to work.

Don’t open up your businesses.

Don’t buy anything in a store or online.

Don’t eat at a restaurant.

Don’t go to class.

Don’t let your kids go to class.

Thursday february 16, 2017

“Mister President, without us and without our input, this country will stand still.”

Spread the word.

Prepare yourselves to stay at home.

We may lose a day at work, but we could be gaining so much more.

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